The Paris Agreement is a historic milestone [fr]
General Assembly - COP21 – Speech by François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations – December 15, 2015
Mr. President of the General Assembly,
Having just returned from Paris, I am delighted and moved to be here following this great collective success and numerous sleepless nights. Mr. President of the General Assembly,
thank you for having taken this excellent initiative!
Mr. Secretary-General, President Hollande and Minister Fabius have already expressed their gratitude to you for your commitment, the strength of your convictions and your leadership. Please allow me to reiterate our appreciation to you and your team.
The Paris Agreement is a historic milestone based on a text that is both ambitious and balanced.
Some people are skeptical of it: The compromise could have been reached from the bottom up, based on the lowest common denominator; that was the easiest path. That’s not the path that the international community chose: The compromise was reached from the top down on the basis of greater ambition as well as increased solidarity.
Ladies and gentlemen, this agreement is true to the Durban mandate. It recognizes the notion of climate justice. For each of the topics, it takes into account the countries’ responsibilities and their respective capacities in light of national circumstances.
It confirms our central and vital goal: to limit the average temperature increase to less than 2°C and to continue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C, notably in order to help safeguard the island nations, which are most affected by rising sea levels.
It includes five-year cycles for reviewing nationally determined mitigation contributions, based on the principle of increasing the commitments, and encouraging gradual convergence between countries, including the developing countries.
A global stocktake, which will relate to mitigation efforts as well as adaptation and the means of implementation (finance, technology, capacity-building) will take place every 5 years from 2023 and will provide a framework for the revision of the contributions in order to enhance collective ambition. This five-year cycle will be initiated by a facilitative dialogue in 2018, which will make it possible to assess progress in advance, before the entry into force of the agreement, scheduled for 2020, and to encourage even further increases in ambition. Furthermore, all countries are required to formulate, on a voluntary basis, low greenhouse gas emission national development strategies by 2050.
The agreement provides for the necessary resources to allow access to sustainable development for all. $100 billion should be allocated each year from 2020 in order to finance projects that will enable countries to adapt to climate change or to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
This financing should increase, as specified in the agreement. Some developing countries will, on a voluntary basis, also be able to become donors in order to help the poorest countries. An initial meeting is scheduled in 2025 in order to agree on new quantitative commitments to help these poorest countries.
The Paris Agreement pays particular attention to helping the most vulnerable and most disadvantaged in the face of climate change. It notably gives greater emphasis to adaptation to climate change; and it recognizes the importance of cooperation with respect to loss and damage.
In addition to financing, the agreement establishes a new framework for technology and recognizes the need to accelerate innovation. The decision accompanying the agreement establishes a Paris Capacity Building Committee.
The Paris Agreement includes an article on strengthening carbon sinks, notably forests, including through REDD+ type measures and approaches that combine mitigation and adaptation.
It also contains a section on incentives. A market mechanism and a mechanism for non-market approaches are both part of the agreement. Carbon prices are mentioned, among other instruments, to create incentives for action. Human rights are specifically considered in the preamble, which also mentions the need to guarantee decent work and a just transition.
The agreement also provides for an enhanced transparency framework that takes the various parties’ capacities into account. And it provides for a collective progress report every five years. It establishes a mechanism to facilitate implementation and promote compliance with its provisions, which will function in a transparent, non-punitive manner.
The agreement’s entry in force is conditioned on the accession of 55 countries, representing 55% of emissions. As the President of the General Assembly just said, an official signing ceremony will be held on the next Earth Day, which will be April 22, 2016.
This agreement, ladies and gentlemen, is itself part of a broader package that gives it an unprecedented power and scope.
I want to talk first of all about the 188 national contributions – the famous INDCs – that now cover almost all global emissions. They reflect once again the strength of government commitments. I also want to talk, of course, about the countless nongovernmental initiatives included in the Lima-Paris Action Plan. The coalitions that have formed around these innovative, concrete projects show that all our societies, businesses, nongovernmental organizations and local governments are resolutely engaged with us in this battle.
I want to mention just a few figures that indicate a real change in scale in this regard.
The Lima-Paris Action Plan comprises 70 initiatives by 10,000 actors: 2,250 cities, 150 regions representing more than a billion inhabitants, 420 investors, 2,025 companies, thousands of local leaders, business leaders and civil society figures. All that in more than 180 countries covering a very wide range of areas: energy, agriculture, industry, finance, insurance, transportation, cities, forests, water, disaster prevention and resilience…. All economic and social sectors are involved in this extraordinary effort.
And as you know, all these initiatives are now registered on the NAZCA site, which means they are transparent and may be closely monitored.
You understand: this plan is unique and will be one of the things that spearheads the fight against climate change. Two “champions” will be appointed by the two successive COP presidencies (France and Morocco) to guide and encourage the pursuit of these major initiatives.
Ladies and gentlemen, this agreement begins a new chapter not only in the history of the fight against climate change, but also in that of sustainable, shared development. It continues, as has been very eloquently expressed, in the footsteps of Addis Ababa and New York.
To a large extent, it is the “spirit of New York” – a spirit of trust and collective commitment – that was so clearly expressed in this forum, that infused the gathering in Paris and made our agreement possible.
None of all this would have been possible without the commitment of all nations and the personal commitment of each of the national delegations and civil society representatives of each of your countries.
And I want to reiterate how productive it was to work with Peru. The Paris agreement would not have been possible without Lima.
Now we must maintain our extraordinary momentum. Paris is a turning point, but we must not let up on our efforts. On the contrary, we must accelerate them further, and do so with respect for the spirit of New York that I just mentioned, that spirit of unity and inclusion which is also a spirit of hope and optimism.
The Marrakech stage will therefore be crucial, and we will work with our Moroccan friends to ensure that COP22 builds on the Paris dynamic.
Once again, many thanks to each and every one of you.